Student activism is on the rise at Georgetown, while the university faces challenges such as student depression and developing a sense of campus community, according to a report by the office of Student Affairs. The report was presented by Dean of Students James A. Donahue at a Main Campus Executive Faculty meeting in New North last Friday. Donahue said he has noticed a reaction among both students and faculty to the results of last year’s report on intellectual life at Georgetown. He said that he believed that the conclusions reached by the report were shaping how deans, department heads and faculty looked at their jobs. Donahue also noted a rise in student activism on issues that extend beyond Healy gates. He gave as examples the voter registration work of Campaign Georgetown, as well as [the efforts of the Georgetown Solidarity Committee to end sweatshop labor at companies that do business with the university]( In addition, Donahue said volunteerism was on the rise, with over 1,400 students currently actively engaged in some form of community service. Donahue spoke of the need to maintain the “safety net” that Georgetown has instituted for at-risk students – students that are having trouble with depression, alcohol abuse or eating disorders. He noted that while the number of students seen by the university’s counseling center was roughly comparable to last year, the severity of the cases, particularly in the area of manic depression, was increasing. Donahue also said that while relations between the university and its neighbors may never be perfect, he believes that “town-gown” tensions are currently under control. In addition, Donahue noted an increased use of the MBNA Career Education Center and an heightened interest in the performing arts at Georgetown. He said more non-business school students have been using the MBNA center, while there are 850 students involved this year in 25 performing arts groups at the university. One of the main issues facing campus life, according to the study from the office of Student Affairs, is the issue of “community” at Georgetown. Dan Porterfield, associate vice president of university relations and interim chief of staff, addressed part of this topic by presenting a request from University President Leo J. O’Donovan, S.J., relating to the Task Force on Enhancing Inclusiveness. O’Donovan had established the Task Force to devise a plan for how Georgetown can become more diverse in terms of curriculum design and student life. Its establishment followed a well-attended forum on the same subject last year. Porterfield asked the faculty present at last week’s meeting to come up with a mechanism for evaluating the effectiveness of the recommendations presented by the task force. Joseph Serene, the new dean of the graduate school, also spoke at the meeting. Serene gave a presentation on the changing administrative structure of the school.

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